Ryan Oulahen was lucid enough to enjoy the final period of last night's must-win game by the Brampton Battalion but whether he is able to help his teammates prolong their OHL playoff series again with the Sudbury Wolves is unclear. The Battalion flipped off elimination with a 4-2 win against the Wolves before 4,024 at the Brampton Centre and did so while surviving a scare involving Oulahen, its captain. With five minutes left in the second period, Oulahen was rocked by Wolves captain Zack Stortini with an open-ice hit and lay on the ice for approximately 10 minutes before he was taken off on a stretcher. Referee Pat Smola did not call a penalty on the play.
"I'll get re-evaluated (today)," said Oulahen, who undoubtedly will be checked for concussion-like symptoms. "I feel okay. I don't think it's too serious. I'll take it day by day and see how I feel (for Game 6)."
The Wolves lead the best-of-seven quarter-final 3-2, with Game 6 in the Nickel City on Monday. Oulahen, who was instrumental in Brampton's strong start with two first-period assists, watched much of the third period from one corner of the building.
Michael Vernace, Dan McDonald, Luch Aquino and Tyler Harrison scored for the Battalion, which got 39 saves from rookie netminder Daren Machesney. Benoit Pouliot and Ryan Hastings scored for Sudbury.
The Brampton players had no choice but to begin the game as though their pants were on fire and they did exactly that.
Each of the Battalion's three goals in the first period, by Vernace, McDonald and Aquino, were at even-strength, equalling its output in the four previous games at even-strength. Brampton chased Wolves starting goalie Patrick Ehelechner, who was replaced by Kevin Beech, after scoring three times on its first seven shots.
"We have the utmost respect for Sudbury but at the same token anybody who has followed us all year knows we don't quit either," Battalion coach Stan Butler said.
With his team ahead 2-0, 5-foot-10, 176-pound rookie Jason Cassidy provided further inspiration when he fought 6-foot-3, 180-pound Alexander Eaton of the Wolves.
"I love taking on big guys," Cassidy said. "Goals are important but the spirit has to be there too. Stan has given me a chance to play and I want to make the best of it."
Of the three games in the series that have been played at Brampton, last night's was the first that indicated the series is being played by two bitter rivals. There were four fights.
"We knew we had to win one game in their rink and it might as well be Game 6," McDonald said. "The series is going to get rougher and harder. That's playoff hockey."